10 Business Lessons from the Baahubali’s War

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Till date, Baahubali is the most expensive production in the history of Indian cinema. It took this movie just two days to enter the Rs100-crore club worldwide, and no other Indian film has ever achieved this record before. The film grossed around Rs 255 crore in the first week of its release, with a rating of 9.4 out of 10 in IMDB.

This movie has heart-pumping 45-minute war sequence which was shot at in a 110-acre area at Ramoji Film City. In business world, small entrepreneurs face many giant competitors who can eat small company’s market share by limiting their growth. Sometimes, entrepreneurs lose their spirit because of constraints of resources such as manpower, budget and time. But, this war teaches 10 important lessons for small & smart companies to fight against giant competitors with more resources.

1. Information can change the power equation
When Sivagami (Raj Mata) got to know that a spy had stolen the military secrets of Mahishmati kingdom, she immediately sent both the princes - Amarendra Baahubali & Bhallala Deva to catch hold of him. After catching the spy, they gathered the information on possible threats.

In a business, it is very important for the leader to know what is happening in his business, which employees have access to what kind of information and possible threats that could emerge due to leakage of secret information.

2. Understand competition
Mahishmati’s core leadership team understood their competitor – Kalakeya, who was four times bigger in size with 1,00,000 soldiers as compared to Mahishmati’s 25,000 soldiers and was also known for being extremely cruel.

Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, has written that if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of hundred battles. In a business, it is very important for a leader to know his strengths and keep an eye on competitors’ strengths, reputation, resources, plans, and actions.

3. Think in smart, proactive and strategic way
Amarendra Baahubali suggested using Trishul Vyuh to fight against Kalakeya’s huge army. Mahishmati’s leaders debated on options, division of soldiers, available time for execution, possible responses from enemy and agreed on expectations. They all got on the same page before the start of the war.

In business, it is important for the leadership team to be convinced and on the same page about strategy and its execution plan. Leaders should know their responsibilities, and available time and resources to achieve their goals.

4. Speed of execution matters
Amarendra Baahubali and Bhallala Deva realized limitation of time with them and planned to reach Kalakeya’s leader and kill him before he understands their strategy and gets ready to respond back.

In business, speed of execution matters a lot. A company can win more market share, if it is ahead of its competitors in execution.

5. Both purpose & passion are important
To set up a standard of courage, inspire soldiers to fight together for a purpose, Mahishmati kingdom’s princes performed an institution to take blessings of their God. Drums, flags, banners and shouts of Jai Mahishmati to show respect for their kingdom, motivated army to fight passionately for a purpose.

In a company, if all employees are motivated for a purpose and feel united with leadership team then they can achieve excellent results with their passion.

6. Use resources creatively
Bijjala Deva gave better weapons to his son Bhallala Deva and dull weapons to Amarendra Baahubali. In constraints, Baahubali figured out a creative way to attack enemies using large clothes with fire. By using large clothes with fire (innovative resources), Baahubali not only killed enemy’s soldiers but also saved his soldiers (limited resources).

In business, a leader may have lesser and poor quality resources as compared to competitors, but lack of resources could bound him to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions.

7. Importance of humanity with purpose
Kalakeya’s soldiers brought captured civilians between Mahishmati’s soldiers and themselves. To reach enemy’s soldiers, Bhallala Deva didn’t stop his chariot and civilians got killed through moving swords in his chariot. On the other hand, Baahubali protected civilians first and then killed enemy’s soldiers.

In business, if a leader is just focused on getting market share and wins over competition, and ignores wellbeing of his team, then sooner or later he looses respect & credibility required to lead the company. Moreover, his business gets affected as media and concerned authorities can take action against the company.

8. Attack at unguarded spots
Due to moving swords in Bhallala Deva’s chariot, many soldiers of Kalakeya were getting killed and it was very difficult to stop Bhallala Deva and fight with him. Rather than attacking from front, Kalakeya’s leader attacked his chariot’s wheel and broke the chariot. Kalakeya’s leader was sitting at height on an elephant and it was difficult to attack him. Besides attacking him, Bhallala Deva attacked his elephant on head to bring his enemy on ground.

In business, it could be difficult to fight head on with a competitor. In that case, leaders have to figure out weak points of competitors and then attack on those spots.

9. Kill fear to reenergise team
When enemies broke the defence made by Kattappa’s army unit and raised their flag, Mahishmati’s soldiers lost their spirit and they started running away owing to fear of death. Baahubali realised the criticality of situation and reached to inspire soldiers to fight and made them realise that if they can face death, there is nothing that they can't achieve. Their spirits rose to an extraordinary level; Kattappa broke Kalakeya’s flag and soldiers started fighting again.

In business, competitors would attack on moral of your employees by popularising some fake news & weak points. But, with his motivation, a leader can prepare his employees to fight & respond rather than loosing spirit.

10. Without morale, resources have no meaning
Kalakeya army was four times of army of Mahishmati. But, when Kalakeya’s leader lost fight against Baahubali, Kalakeya army lost its confidence and started running away.

Presence of a powerful leader is very important for any company, in the absence of a strong leader; even an organization with excellent resources can lose its focus and confidence.

About the author: Harsh Pamnani is former Senior Manager of TiE Mumbai and Alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur.)
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